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Xavi, Kimmich hail Guardiola’s impact in football

By Editor   |   05 October 2016   |   2:52 am
Manchester City's Spanish manager Pep Guardiola / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS /

Manchester City’s Spanish manager Pep Guardiola / AFP PHOTO / PAUL ELLIS /

Former Barcelona star Xavi has hailed Pep Guardiola as the most influential figure in world football in a decade.

Barca won three LaLiga titles, two Champions Leagues and two Club World Cups among a host of honours during Guardiola’s four-year spell in charge between 2008 and 2012.

The former midfielder subsequently took Bayern Munich to three consecutive Bundesliga titles, as well as two DFB-Pokals, the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup, before replacing Manuel Pellegrini as Manchester City boss.

And Xavi is confident that his former coach will bring both significant success and a shift in football style to the Premier League.

“Pep improved all of us,” he said at the Aspire4Sports event in Amsterdam. “He teaches you the why of things and conveys a lot.

“Plus, his way of understanding the game is the Barcelona way. He’s been the most influential person in world football in the last 10 years.

“If anyone can change the dynamic of English football, it’s Guardiola. He is influential, obsessive, a perfectionist. At City, they’ll learn a lot from him and enjoy it, in a few months they’re already starting to see his style.”

Guardiola won his first 10 matches as City boss before they were held to a 3-3 draw by Celtic in the Champions League and then suffered a 2-0 loss to Tottenham on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Joshua Kimmich admits Bayern Munich are a more cautious side under Carlo Ancelotti than they were when Guardiola was in charge.

Former Barcelona coach Guardiola left the Bundesliga champions at the end of last season, joining Manchester City, while Ancelotti arrived after a year-long hiatus.

Bayern have so far continued the fine league form shown with the Spaniard – winning five of six matches so far – but Kimmich insists the style of play is very different.

“We play more cautious,” he told Bild. “We do not try 90 minutes of pressing play as with Pep Guardiola. This is simply not our plan.

“There are now phases in which we wait to go forward so we can create more space.”

Kimmich, often deployed as a full-back, has already scored five goals in nine matches this term, adding that he is continuing to develop his attacking game.

“I now better understand the situations where I can go forward,” he said.

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